May 23, 2011

Day 6 - A picture of something that makes you happy

"I love daisies. They're so friendly. Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?" -Kathleen Kelly, You've Got Mail

May 19, 2011

Day 5 - Siblings. Or home grown best friends.

I was raised in a blended family. It was a 'yours, mine and ours' situation. My siblings and I have gone through a lot together. Growing up, we put the fun in dysfunctional. We moved around A LOT as kids and sometimes the only friends we had were each other. Our parents worked graveyard for a good chunk of our childhood and we used to sneak out of the house to go to 7-11 in our pajamas, watch rated R movies (Dirty Dancing and Stand by Me!) and search for Christmas present hiding spots. I'm close with all of my sisters and brother, some closer than others, but that's normal right?

These are my siblings in age order.

Stace, aka Tia, aka Teesie

She and I spent our summers together playing taxi with our paddle boat for hours at a time, paddling back and forth, back and forth from one dock to the another, making seaweed salads, and eating way too much junk food. During our teenage years she would cover for me when I got into...mischief. She is a rockstar single Mom, raising two kids, working part time and going to school full time.  She was my labor coach during childbirth, (except for a brief moment when she was kicked out of the room by a nurse). She's now going to school to be a Doula, I like to think I trained her for the role. I'm also glad I got to use her services for free.


 My only brother. We were close growing up, he was very protective of his sisters. He was my little brother until I was about 15, then he shot up in height and I decided I better be nice to him. He always took longer than I did to get ready in the mornings, his hair had to be perfect. I wonder if he's still like that? I have 2 sons now and when they do something that I find weird or something only boys do, I find myself thinking back to my childhood and I'll ask myself 'Did my brother used to do that? Is this normal?'.
He's a proud Daddy and just recently had a baby boy whom I haven't met yet. I can't wait to go back home for my sister's wedding so I can meet my newest nephew!


Lin is 7 years younger than me. She's (in my mind anyway) the ultimate in coolness. She's chic, fashionable, beautiful with a shaved head, tattooed, funny, a solid rock in any crisis and one of the hardest workers I've ever met. She's basically everything I want to be when I grow up. She has Sbux running through her veins, she's a fellow Star Wars nerd, and has brilliant ideas floating around in her petite little head that one day will make a big difference in our world.

Chelsey aka Bug

I could probably let the photos speak for themselves with this one. Take a moment to look through them, she's a goon. I was 12 when she was born. The story goes that my mom had to steal her from me to be able to feed her. I was a little Mama to her. She's funny and wacky, and beautiful and I'm about to be the matron-of-honor in her WEDDING! It's hard to believe that she's getting married. Sometimes I still see her as a 3 year old twirling in her frilly dress, wearing lace gloves and cowgirl boots.


The youngest. She's 18 and getting ready to leave for boot camp this summer. She's a talented chef and a proud Tia to all her nieces and nephews. She was only 3 when my oldest daughter was born so they grew up together and are very close.

My husband and I and our kids moved across the country almost a year ago and away from everything familiar, all our friends and both sides of our family.  While I learned the valuable lesson that my immediate family includes my husband and kids and they are my priority,  not being able to see my sisters almost daily has been the hardest thing to deal with. We all lived close in proximity and many times per week, one of us would drop by the others home or meet for lunch or coffee. With my oldest sister being a single parent and myself being a technical single parent because of my husbands job, we could almost always count on each other or another sister to lend a hand or step in and drive a kid to an appointment or event. It's been really hard to not have that support system anymore.

These days I am so thankful for Skype and Facebook.

If you live close to your family be thankful and give your sibling a hug today.

May 17, 2011

Dreaming of The Huxtables

I've gotten behind on my blog challenge. That's because life sucks lately and I'm overwhelmed. Feel sorry for me, please.

Day 4- Your parents. Don't we all wish we had different parents then the ones we actually have? I did. At least as a kid I did. I'm cool with them now.

Here is a picture of the parents I wanted to raise me:

Aren't they just too cute?

I wanted these parents too:

Don't we all love them?

These parents are closer to the truth:

That's them!
Ok, I'm done.

Here they are for real.

My Dad!
He lives in Michigan.
He's a proud Papa.
He's a practical joker and proud of it. Nobody is safe.
We share a love of Nascar. Well mine is more of a 'like'.
He has an evil cackle laugh, I inherited it.
I blame him for my NCIS addiction.
I'm pretty sure he would do anything for my sister or I, "his girls".

My mom!
She lives in Florida.
She fulfilled a lifelong dream and became a flight attendant at 50. She never wants to retire.
She answers to Ma, Mama, Mom, Grandmaw, Grandmubber, Grandma and Ammaw.
She has the most recognizable laugh you'll ever hear. It was so embarrassing as a kid.
She likes to steal things from construction sites.
She's dances in grocery store aisles.
Finally after getting some space between us, we are friends.

My Dad!

He lives in Heaven.
He loved being a Grandpa.
He was really good at giving second chances.
Without him I would have failed high school math.
He invited strangers over for Thanksgiving dinner.
He thought Spam was it's own food group.
He was the best listener I've ever known. 
He bought groceries for people in need even though we were also in need.

That's them. The 'rents. I love them each so much!

May 10, 2011

Day 3- Your first love.

Mr. Huddleston. My first grade teacher, he was my first crush. Being in his classroom allowed me to escape the ugliness that was going on at home. He was the teacher that believed in the scrawny, shy, mute girl and made me believe I was special just because I was me. If I had a picture of him, I'm pretty sure there would be visible stars and hearts floating around his head. *swoon*

Hulk Hogan. I loved everything about him. Still do actually. I'll admit, we had a rough patch while he was doing his Hollywood Hulk Hogan thing, but we're back on solid ground now.

Bobby Joe. My first boyfriend, 6th grade. He was my next door neighbor. I learned to sneak out of the house because of him. His mom hated me.

Bryce Bryce Baby. Too cold, too cold! (Sing it to the Vanilla Ice tune) My jr high crush and high school boyfriend. First boy to buy me a gift, call me on my BS, show genuine emotion towards me. I learned many lessons while 'dating' him. Number one being don't forgo a friendship over a boy. The boy will leave, the girlfriend probably would have stayed.

Beavis. He was a butt-head, that's why we call him Beavis.

Sid the sloth. My first lesson in no matter how much you love him, it's not powerful enough to change him from being a %@*#! jerk. Took many years to find myself again after this one.  So many poor souls after him had to deal with my insecurities and fears because of what he made me believe about myself. He beat me down into a pile of nothing and it has taken years and years to learn he was wrong.

Taken Mother's Day 2011
 My kids. Oh man, my kids. Becoming a mom saved my life. The first time I knew I could love another person unconditionally. Forever and ever. Do I always like everything about them? No. Especially with the teenager trials we are currently dealing with. But I as long as I'm living, nothing can stop my love for them.


Hoss. Definitely a first for me. The first time I've learned that love is a choice. A choice to love another person regardless of their response. A daily choice sometimes. The first time I realized just how much power a woman can wield over her husband, it's best to use it for good. The first time I believed a man was worth stepping out on faith for. He's also the first man that fought for me when I did my usual retreat when things get too hard routine. He is my better half, tag team partner, partner in crime, my gentle giant, my hillbilly husband. We have such similar life stories, it's a wonder we were ever attracted to each other. We are opposites in almost every area of life which causes me many headaches. But he will also rub my head when I have a headache even after he worked a 16 hour day.

I love that man sitting on that poor tiny plastic cow.

May 9, 2011

Day 2 Meaning behind blog name.

 When starting a blog, the experts say to write about something you are an expert on. The only thing I consider myself an expert on is my family. There are other topics that interest me (nutrition, whole foods, thriftiness, cooking), experiences I've lived through (domestic violence, teen pregnancy, adultery, divorce to name just a few) that affect who I am today and why I do things the way I do or react to situations a certain way. I'm actually very hesitantly dipping my toe in the water so to speak and trying to write about some of these other topics. Slowly because it's scary. I feel safer writing about everyday, mundane things like me, myself, and I, my husband, and our kids and the things happen to all of us throughout the years.

It's a jungle in here- pretty self explanatory. My house is loud, chaotic, busy, full. It's nothing new to me. I grew up in a very loud, chaotic, busy, full household.

I remember the first time I visited with my husband and his family before we got married. After we left I asked him if everybody was mad at each other because it was so quiet. It seemed to me like nobody was talking to each other.

The first time he was at one of my family events (God bless him!) he thought the same thing. Was everybody mad at each other? Why is everybody yelling at each other? 'What yelling?' I thought. There was no yelling, we were just conversing. Loudly- it's the only way you will be heard above everyone else.

Our family has definitely taken after my own family dynamic rather than my husbands. Only when everyone is asleep is this house really truly quiet. I don't seem to notice it until we have house guests, or friends over and they may mention it. There is almost always something happening in our home. Some project to be finished, somewhere to be, someone needing something. We have 4 children, and 3 dogs. It's crowded and it's hectic. Because of my husbands job, I carry the majority of the load myself. I'm not complaining (at this precise moment anyway), it's just the way it is. I've been a SAHM since our youngest was born almost 3 years ago.  345-ish days out of the year I wish I was back at work. Being a SAHM is not my calling in life but we have committed to this decision until he starts school full time. I can neither confirm or deny if I have a countdown going for that day.

This is my little slice of the Internet and I get a kick out of being able to express my opinions and beliefs, stories and thoughts. It's not always pretty but it's us!

May 7, 2011

Get funky. Get fresh.

Thanks to Tia for sharing this idea. I have been in a writing funk lately, maybe this little challenge will help me breakthrough.

 It's a One-a-day list. Seems simple enough.

Day 1-Introduce, recent picture, 15 interesting facts 
Day 2-Meaning behind your blog name 
Day 3-Your first love 
Day 4-Your parents 
Day 5-Your siblings 
Day 6-A picture of something that makes you happy 
Day 7-Favorite movies 
Day 8-A place you’ve traveled to 
Day 9-A picture of your friends 
Day 10-Something you’re afraid of 
Day 11-Favorite TV shows 
Day 12-What you believe 
Day 13-Goals 
Day 14-A picture you love 
Day 15-Bible verse 
Day 16-Dream house 
Day 17-Something you’re looking forward to 
Day 18-Something you regret 
Day 19-Something you miss 
Day 20-Nicknames 
Day 21-Picture of yourself 
Day 22-Favorite city 
Day 23-Favorite vacation 
Day 24-Something you’ve learned 
Day 25-Favorite memory 
Day 26-Picture of your family 
Day 27-Pets 
Day 28-Something that stresses you out 
Day 29-3 Wishes 
Day 30-a picture

Oh boy, a recent picture. I didn't think this would be so difficult. I've been looking thru my photos for 10 minutes to find one of me. Apparently I am always behind the camera because there are approximately 8000 photos of my kids, dozens of my husband, but only a handful of myself. I should try to fix that. 

Taken before attending an event for our oldest daughter.

Next up, 15 interesting facts. Maybe 15 random facts would be more appropriate. I lead a boring life.

1.  I have waaay too many purses. Yet as much as I'm trying to simplify my life lately and get rid of unnecessary stuff, my purses always make the cut.
2. I could eat Mexican food all day every day.
3. I am a master of procrastination. The more pressure I feel, the better I work. I love a deadline
4. I love nerdy stuff. Star Wars is high on my list. My oldest daughter is named Anakin for pete's sake.
5. I am the queen of budgeting.
6. I'm afraid of flying. As in shakes-sweats-nauseous-notify the Air Marshall-this lady is acting strangely- afraid!
7. I still have (day)dreams of being either a NASCAR driver or a ballerina.
8. I don't think there is anything natural about marriage. Man and woman living together in harmonious bliss? "That's not natural." It's friggin' hard work! When I hear of another couple divorcing I think "Wimps."
9. My husband is 6'7, I'm 5'1
10. I have huge feet for a short person. Size 9's on this body mean I was robbed of some height.
11. I was a homeless, pregnant, drug using, drug selling teen mom. Certainly not boasting about that. Just an example that you can overcome almost anything and my past does not define me.
12. I make 80's and 90's movies and TV references often. I try to include at least one in everyday conversation.
13. I think I'm funnier than I actually am.
14. I will hijack a Facebook page anytime I see the opportunity. I have no shame.
15. I can quote the movie Steel Magnolias for hours once I get started.

My sisters wrote that list.

I threw in a serious one  just to keep it real yo.

May 2, 2011

Breaking child labor laws and being ok with it.

I have a insanely large extended family. And thanks to my brother and sister it's still growing! My brother and his fiance, and my sister and her fiance. Not my brother and sister. Phew! That was a close one,.  I like to send at least a card for birthdays and anniversary's and other important life events. In May there are 9 birthdays or anniversary's that I want to acknowledge. I'm not even talking great aunts, or 3rd cousins or old neighbors. Just 2 of my sisters, 1 niece, 1 nephew, Mother's Day, my in-laws anniversary, my mil's birthday. Is that 9? I may be forgetting somebody.

My husband recently changed positions at work which resulted in a hefty hefty hefty pay cut. It was his choice and a good one for our family but the new paycheck numbers are taking some... getting used to. We're not destitute in any way, just trying really hard to re-think our priorities and needs vs. wants.  I used to live off less than $12K/year so I know how to get creative and stretch a buck.

We also live The Dave Ramsey lifestyle which means we make a budget for each and every month which accounts for each and every cent dollar that comes in and goes out. We don't use credit cards and we save up and pay cash for things we want. We also follow the 7 baby steps- wait, nevermind- I'm saving all this for another post. Back to my awesome story about child labor.

In an attempt to quit spending so much on greeting cards but still being able to send something so my friends and family know I am thinking about them, I've begun asking my 11 year old to draw pictures I can use as cards. He is a gifted artist. He has drawn so many amazing pictures, sometimes if I didn't watch him draw them I would accuse him of tracing or copying.

I thought this was a brilliant idea because:

1. He really is that good. When he's famous, these cards will be really valuable.

2.  He is always drawing anyway. Why not doodle on this piece of paper that I've folded to conveniently fit in a regular stamp sized envelope?

3. It's a lesson on being thrifty combined with a lesson on thinking of others.

Totally a win-win.

At first he was very excited and put lots of effort into making each card special for the intended recipient. Apparently his talent is something he can turn on and off because tonight I asked if he would mind drawing a "few" more for this month. He grudgingly agreed and then proceeded to draw a picture that a blind-folded, drunk, handcuffed chimpanzee (or me) could have drawn. I think my son is trying to tell me he's done churning out cards for me!  I even offered to do his dish chore tonight in exchange for just one more card. He started whining and complaining, then made up some excuse that his hand was cramping. Today's youth, they just don't have a good work ethic.

What do you think?
Give him more food and water breaks?
Just scan some of his old work?  Is that a copyright issue?
Offer to pay him for his services?
A recent example of his work:

Seriously. It's not just because I'm his Mama. He's gifted.